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E-Wasting Everyone’s Time

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: cwu007 | November 29, 2022

I work for a retail drugstore chain, and our location is in an outdoor shopping center. There are several restaurants, a nail salon, and a veterans’ center, along with several offices. The shopping center is one address with each business getting its own suite. Out of all the businesses, we are the busiest and the one that stands out.

Twice a year, a nonprofit has an e-waste collection at the shopping center for a weekend. They put our business name on the posters even though we have no association with them. This causes people to think it is something we set up, so we get hammered with calls for information. Our main responses are, “We are not associated,” and, “We have no information.” Usually, people accept our answers and hang up.

Before the most recent event, one of the event organizers makes a stop at my store to buy a soda. I explain the phone calls we’ve been getting.

Me: “Could you please not put our business on your posters?”

Organizer: “It does say it’s in the [Store] parking lot, and it lists our phone number.”

Me: “People don’t see that and automatically assume the store is involved.”

The guy just blows me off and does the event.

We start getting calls, and we give our usual responses. We get responses like, “You put a poster up,” “It says it’s at your store,” “They should have left you some information,” and everything in between. It isn’t just my store getting the phone calls, but other nearby stores in the chain, as well. We even have to resort to putting signs on our front door and registers saying that we have no information and are not associated.

The day of the event arrives, and they set up behind one of the restaurants on the side of our building — a place where there are no windows. Again, we get bombarded with calls about the event. Again, we give the same responses.

This time, we get responses like, “I know you’re not involved, but can’t you step out for a moment to see if it’s still going on, ask them for information, etc.?” We say no every time. We explain that we are busy, too, and this is not something related to our store. We get numerous people threatening to get us fired.

My manager has had enough. My manager only works Monday through Friday, but over the weekend, he decides to make a surprise trip to work and confront the organizers.

Manager: “If you put our store’s name on your posters again, I am going to drive all over town and take them down. And if things get as bad as they did this time, I will also talk to our legal team about improper use of the company name and about billing [Nonprofit] for wasted employee time that we’ve spent answering the phone about an event we have no association with.”

I suggested that they put the address of the shopping center so at least all of the businesses could share the harassment.

Fingers crossed that the nonprofit doesn’t put our name on the posters next time and that my manager makes good on his threat.

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